Archive for May 7, 2013

“One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice…”

(Green Left Weekly on the character of Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man currently imprisoned in Bulgaria for an act of conscience…of courage…)

Saturday, May 4, 2013
A rally for Jock Palfreeman was held in Sydney on April 30.

“In a different world — in a better world — Jock Palfreeman would not be in a jail serving a 20-year sentence. Instead he’d be awarded a medal for great courage, principle and instinctive support for victims of racist violence.

He would not be locked away in a jail in Bulgaria. He’d be toured around as an example of the sort of person we should all aspire to be. One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice.

His extraordinarily brave act in coming to the defence of two Roma men being attacked by a violent gang one dark night in Sofia, Bulgaria, would be discussed and studied in schools all over the world — as I believe it is studied in his old school, Riverview…

…click here for the piece in full @ Green Left Weekly…

Published in ON LINE OPINION @

Australia was founded as a penal colony by Great Britain two hundred and twenty five years ago. There were no expectations on the part of colonial Britain that it would ever amount to much more. However, enterprise and greed, on the part of administrators, soldiers and released convicts saw commercial activity and farming gradually established; all at the expense of the original Aboriginal inhabitants who not unnaturally saw the move to permanent settlement as an invasion.

There was no concept of civil liberties relating to the Aboriginals and the convicts. Industrialisation in Britain saw social upheaval within a class structured society; the acquisition of wealth was a means of moving upwards in the structure. As the colonies began to prosper, some viewed migration to them as an easier way to gain wealth and status, others as the only way to escape poverty.

Wealth bestowed certain rights to the new elite in the Australian colonies, but that was the extent of civil liberties. Some cite the gold rushes as bringing people, mainly men, to Australian with a more independent outlook and a notion of the ‘rights of man’. They cite armed protest on the Victorian gold fields in December 1854, known as the Eureka Stockade, as proof of this and Republicans in Australia employ the symbolism of the event and the flag used by the protesters, as a prop in their campaign. However the uprising, as it romantically referred to, was a protest of frustration at the imposition of mining licence fees and police harassment involved with the collection of these fees.

White miners killed and injured Chinese miners, most seriously at Lambing Flat near Young in NSW but also on gold fields in Victoria. There was no notion of civil liberties relating to the persecuted Chinese, on the contrary fear over the loss of white jobs led to The White Australia Policy, in force from the 1880’s to the 1960’s.

Cheap Labour was introduced to Queensland sugar fiel…

…Bruce Haigh’s piece continues here @…

Former diplomat Bruce Haigh spent years in some of the world's hotspots where he saw and did some extraordinary things. In South Africa he befriended the legendary dissident Steve Biko. In Afghanistan he took pictures of Russian military installations. In Pakistan he flirted with Benazir Bhutto, or perhaps it was Benazir flirting with him...
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